PAWTUCKET, R.I. - After they rallied back to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Pawtucket Red Sox eventually fell to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 5-4, on Thursday night at McCoy Stadium.
In a back-and-forth game that featured four different ties, the PawSox (65-70) scored twice in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead, then scored in the home half of the eighth to tie the game 4-4, only to fall after ceding an unearned run in the top of the ninth inning in the series finale with league-leading Lehigh Valley (81-55).
Red Sox catcher Christian Vázquez (right fifth finger fracture) continued his rehab assignment and played all nine innings behind the plate for the first time. Vázquez, who caught with Double-A Portland on Monday and with the PawSox on Tuesday, went 1-for-4 with a single and a walk out of the No. 3 spot in the order.
Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers (hamstring) spent eight innings as the designated hitter and went 0-for-3 with a walk, a run scored, two strikeouts and a sharp lineout to first base.
PawSox left fielder Sam Travis paced the offense with a 3-for-3 performance with a double, walk and run driven in.
Pawtucket starter Justin Haley tossed five sturdy inning and ceded one earned run (two total) with six strikeouts and only one walk. Southpaw reliever Bobby Poyner ceded two runs on six hits in 1.2 innings, and righty Travis Lakins retired all four batters he faced, lowering his Triple-A ERA to 1.88. Righty Fernando Rodriguez Jr. (L, 3-4) got tagged with the loss.
Rehabbing Lehigh Valley starter Jerad Eickhoff fired five innings of three-run ball and issued four walks. Veteran reliever and International League All-Star Pedro Beato (W, 8-4) escaped a jam in the eighth inning and stamped the victory in the ninth.
Lehigh Valley climbed out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a groundout from left fielder Pedro Florimon.
With the bases loaded for Pawtucket in the bottom of the second inning, right fielder Kyle Wren coaxed a walk to tie the game 1-1.
In the third, IronPigs slugger Dylan Cozens ripped an RBI single into right field to plate leadoff man Dean Anna and nudge Lehigh Valley back in front, 2-1.
Two innings later, third baseman Tony Renda stroked the first pitch he saw back into center field to plate Devers and level the score, 2-2. Travis then socked an RBI double to left-center field to hand Pawtucket its first lead of the evening.
Lehigh Valley countered in the top of the sixth inning with an RBI single from third baseman Mitch Walding.
In the seventh, the IronPigs loaded the bases with three straight one-out singles and nabbed the go-ahead run on a Pawtucket error.
In the home half of the eighth inning, PawSox second baseman Mike Miller delivered a sacrifice fly to left field to plate Renda and tie the game, 4-4.
The PawSox now hit the road to open up a two-game stint in Moosic, Pennsylvania, against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (New York Yankees) - beginning Friday at 7:05 p.m. Pawtucket right-hander Chandler Shepherd (7-9, 3.93) is slated to start the opener. Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM and 104.7 FM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the pre-game show at 6:35 p.m.
The PawSox conclude the season Sunday (6:15 p.m.) and Monday (1:35 p.m.) at McCoy Stadium. Good tickets are available, and fans can visit the McCoy Stadium box office, which is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., and during all home games. Fans can also call (401) 724-7300 or log on to PawSox.com for tickets.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.